The New Hampshire primary was an exciting turn in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Predictably, Donald Trump, who had stood tall at the top of the leader board for weeks, gained the win with a big margin. But the surprise of the night was a second-place finish for Ohio governor John Kasich. Marco Rubio had been polling second ahead of the election, but took a dramatic fall to fifth when the tallies were counted. Ben Carson, who once rivaled Trump's polling numbers, finished dead last. So what happens next for the GOP candidates?
So far, no one has announced that they're definitively dropping out of the race, but some of the wilting campaigns are in pruning range. The bottom three — Fiorina, Christie, and Carson — have struggled for weeks now, and their weak shares of the primary election aren't likely to inspire new donations or fans. Christie even noted that he was going home to New Jersey to "take a deep breath" and reassess his campaign.
The bottom of the pack sticking it out through the primaries could be beneficial for those on the cusp, like Bush and Rubio. Fracturing the party into factions means that its easier to get a leg up on other candidates, as seen in Cruz’s defeat of Trump in Iowa last week. As long as the underdogs stay in the race, those in the middle of the group have a greater chance of staying afloat. New Hampshire was an interesting new development in this very interesting election cycle, and the full ramifications of the primary may not be seen until much later on in the race. For now, here are the updates on each candidate’s campaign.
Trump's big win in New Hampshire definitely secures his continued campaign (although it wasn't particularly in question before). He is heading into another huge polling margin in South Carolina for the state's primary on February 20, which more than likely means another win and building momentum.
Kasich stated just before the New Hampshire primary that a weak showing would mean he'd drop out of the race. But he surprised the country by finishing second, so it looks like he's staying in the game. He's continuing on to the next primaries, and may even last until Super Tuesday, but ultimately, his New Hampshire success was probably a fluke. He doesn't have party support, his cash on hand is running low, and most of the country's Republicans won't be as amenable to his moderate views as those in New Hampshire.
Third place might have been disappointing for the Iowa caucus winner, but it doesn't mean that Cruz's campaign is in any trouble. His finances are strong and he's polling just behind Trump nationally — there's no concrete reason he should drop his campaign, and it looks like it isn't going to happen.
Bush hasn't been able to break out of the middle of the pack throughout his entire campaign, and New Hampshire was no exception. He hasn't made an announcement about dropping out, and he's still got plenty of money in his coffers, so it seems that he is staying in the race for the time being.
A disappointing fifth-place finish isn't a great sign for Rubio, but there's no way he would drop his campaign because of one lousy finish. The Rubio camp is soldiering on to South Carolina next, where the Florida senator needs to finish in the top three at least to prove he's still a viable candidate.
Christie hasn't formally announced that he's dropping out of the race, but he did say that he's going home to New Jersey to "take a deep breath." His tenth-place finish in Iowa and fifth-place finish in New Hampshire are both disappointing for the New Jersey governor. This time to reevaluate most likely means the end of Christie's run for the White House.
Despite her lackluster performances in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Fiorina is determined to stay in the race. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO stated on Tuesday that she plans to continue on to South Carolina and Nevada. Her campaign still has money to burn, so Fiorina is undeterred in her quest for the presidency.
Carson's last-place finish is another low blow in his struggling campaign. He left Iowa during the caucus last week to do laundry and skipped his own primary party in New Hampshire, which doesn't say a lot for the candidate's belief in his own campaign. Carson is sinking toward the bottom of the pack, and he may be the next one on his way out.
New Hampshire might not have fundamentally changed the outcome of the race for the GOP nomination, but it had just enough surprises to feel like a big shakeup.